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Russia: Botswana’s true friend

Daily News


Speaker of the National Assembly has noted with satisfaction the recent political consultations between ministers of foreign affairs for Botswana and Russia who reaffirmed the commitment for continuous dialogue on issues of mutual interest at the global level, particularly on international peace and security.

Speaking at the Russian National Day celebrations in Gaborone recently, Ms Gladys Kokorwe said Botswana continued to look to Russia, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to take a leading role and work towards solutions that would bring about lasting peace and security around the world.

She said it was only through an atmosphere characterised by peace and security that two countries could commit resources to the more beneficial areas of economic and social development.

Ms Kokorwe said as they commemorate Russia’s National Day, they also celebrate a milestone in the 45 years of diplomatic relations. “On reflection, ours has been a relationship sustained by shared interests of a better future for the two countries and its people,” she said.

She said quality education and health were some of the national priorities of Botswana and stated that the country appreciates the fact that the Russian government was considering increasing the quota of scholarships allocated to Botswana.  “This will certainly go a long way in improving the country’s human capital,” she added.

Ms Kokorwe expressed Botswana’s gratitude for Russia’s continued contribution towards the development effort and also noted with delight Russia’s demonstrated commitment to broaden the scope of cooperation with the regional body, (SADC), and continental body, the African Union.

For his part, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Botswana, Mr Victor Sibilev said Russia and Botswana enjoy longstanding ties of friendship, mutual respect and cooperation, adding that since 1970, the two countries had become friends and partners.

 “What brings our countries closer is the common commitment towards ensuring stability, security, sustainable development and establishment of fair international trade relations,” he said.

The Ambassador said the special significance in the cooperation was attached to deepening trade and investment links and to ascertain that, allows the existing potential in mining, power, water and infrastructure development.  “A deal of experience has been accumulated during operation of Norilsk Nickel in Botswana since 2007,” he said.

Mr Sibilev stated that in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and medical authorities in Francistown, Norilsk Nickel developed a mobile telemedicine unit “Tobol” designed to provide different types of diagnostics. He added that in two weeks’ time “Tobol’ would be handed over to the ministry to help improve health services in remote and scarcely populated areas in the country.

 “We are determined to bolster our bilateral economic cooperation by sending to Gaborone, a Russian mission in 2015.  Russia is prepared to continue assistance in training Botswana specialists in areas as law enforcement, health and education.

Currently, we are working on increasing the quota of government scholarships allocated to Batswana. On the whole about 300 Botswana students are studying in Russia at the moment,” said the Ambassador.

About the country’s ties with African continent, Mr Sibilev said they were pursuing a course aimed at extending and deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with African states.

He said Africa has been playing a more prominent role in the international affairs and commended the consistent policy aimed at broadening political and economic integration within African Union and SADC.

Russia, he said, supports efforts by continental umbrella organisation and sub-regional blocs in search of African solutions to African problems.

International relations, he said were undergoing a transitional period with a new polycentric international system emerging.

He said given global turbulence and growing interdependence of nations, attempts to create isolated “sanctuaries of calm and safety” were futile and the only credible safeguards against further shocks were the observance of universal principles of international law, commitment to equal and indivisible security and respect of other nations’ sovereignty.

In this regard, he said, attempts to act in contravention of the UN Charter through imposing views on the rest of the world pose tremendous threat to the global order.

Mr Sibilev stated that Russia was now negotiating its way through a challenging period, noting that unfortunately, “we still have to put up with the regime of sanctions.”

As was repeatedly mentioned by Russia’s leaders, in terms of international law, these measures were illegal since the sanctions had not been authorised by the Security Council of the United Nations, he added.  ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : GABORONE

Event : Independence day celebrations

Date : Jun 15 Mon,2015